I must admit that the word propitiation is a minor shibboleth for me. If Romans 3:25, Hebrews 2:17, 1 John 2:2 and 1 John 4:10 don’t have it, I get negative thoughts. When I found out my NRSV that I carefully chose over two years ago, without having looked at these verses, didn’t have it I almost switched to the ESV immediately before I came to my senses. (I previously used the NIV for 20 years because it’s what everybody else read. When I got more serious I realized I didn’t really like it compared to others even though it’s a fine translation.)
I’ve come to dislike the archaic language in the NRSV and over time have really warmed up to the HCSB for many reasons which I won’t mention because this post is too long already. Except that of course it has the word propitiation. I was 99% sure I was going to switch to this when the update comes out next year but I’m being patient and keeping an open mind.
A quick look at Romans 3:25 in the NLT shows that it doesn’t say propitiation. Oh well. As far as a dynamic equivalent (formerly known as thought-for-thought) translation goes, I like how the NLT does it. But I like the idea of some of the literal aspects of the HCSB.
So I took a look at the first part of Romans 3:25 again in the NLT more carefully:
For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us.
Isn’t that just what propitiation means? Isn’t this better than “atoning sacrifice” or “sacrifice of atonement” that some other translations use? For me this would be so. Again, I’m not disparaging other translations and I know this idea is complex and beyond me to make any authoritative judgments. Reading Douglas Moo’s take on it was confusing to say the least.
This really makes me pause. For some reason I still fight against the idea of using a dynamic equivalent translation as my main Bible. I always wonder if more interpreting is going on than with a more literal approach. I’m still leaning towards the HCSB.
That’s enough rambling for now. Maybe I’ll post again as I become more decisively indecisive.
Comments welcome as always.